The Catholic League has this note today with my emphases and comments:
November 10, 2009
OBAMA BETRAYS THE BISHOPS
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on President Obama’s position on abortion restrictions in the health care bill:
On September 30, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to the U.S. Senate saying, “So far, the health reform bills considered in committee, including the new Senate Finance Committee bill, have not met President Obama’s challenge of barring use of federal dollars for abortion.”
We now know that President Obama—who is lobbying to excise the abortion restrictions that the bishops wanted—has betrayed the bishops. Here is how New York Times reporter Robert Pear put it today: “President Obama suggested Monday that he was not comfortable with abortion restrictions inserted into the House version of major health care legislation, and he prodded Congress to revise them.” Although Obama spoke out of both sides of his mouth in his ABC News interview, Pear’s statement is an accurate reflection of the president’s position.
The manly thing for the president to do would be to state the obvious: his love for abortion rights brooks no compromise. [There it is. That would be the honest thing.] But he won’t do so, choosing instead to play the same old shell game he’s been playing all along. And he is not alone. For months, we have been told that the bill does not cover funds for abortion, yet if that were true, there would have been no need for the Stupak amendment, and no resistance to it.
This has been a great moment for the bishops, and for Catholics generally, but the fight is not over. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] It’s important that those on both sides know exactly who the players are on each team.
Hmmm… President Obama seems not to be living up to his expressions of openness and outreach to the Catholic Church made at, for example, Notre Shame.
I’m SHOCKED! SHOCKED!
The other day I was quoted in the newspaper of my home town, the Minneapolis Star Tribune in an article about the new US Ambassador to the Holy See. Here is what I said, with a bit of a lead in for context:
"It leads to the thought that this administration is prepared to play serious political hardball and get its way with a significant chunk of the Catholic vote," said Catholic theologian George Weigel, a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center.
To Weigel and other Obama critics, Diaz’s appointment is of a piece with an earlier, controversial invitation for Obama to speak at Notre Dame, which deeply divided American Catholics.
"What would really be a dumb idea," Weigel said, "is if [the White House] imagined this to be another surrogate in an attempt to split the Catholic community in the United States. It’s not a suspicion without ground."
Among those who share that suspicion is John Zuhlsdorf, a Catholic priest from Minneapolis who moderates a popular conservative Internet blog. Diaz’s "appointment could be part of a larger campaign to suborn Catholics in the United States," said Zuhlsdorf, known to his followers as Father Z. "Obama doesn’t care what the Catholic Church teaches. This is an aggressively pro-abortion politician. And everyone knows Catholics are a huge voting demographic."
Some conservatives acknowledge that there’s something benign about Diaz, who is best known for his work in Hispanic culture. "Obama had to find an ambassador to the Vatican," Zuhlsdorf said. "He wasn’t going to pick someone who was a conservative Catholic."
Even so, Diaz’s careful statements about inclusiveness and building bridges will do little to allay the concern of conservative Catholics that he was picked to legitimize the liberal idea that abortion is a matter of personal conscience.
"They’ve awakened something they might not want to awake," Zuhlsdorf said.
I must make the observation that in my conversation with the writer of the article, I always and only referred to the President as "President Obama" and to the Ambassador as "Ambassador Diaz".